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Monday, March 11, 2013

How do you love me? Let me count the ways.

Our psalm today is filled with the stanza, "His love never quits", not once, but twenty-six times in the same amount of verses.  Do you think God may just be trying to emphasize something here?  Yesterday, I talked with us about not overlooking the obvious - I think this may be one of those moments when God is saying the obvious!  Yet, in repeating this throughout this entire psalm, I think David knows we don't always get the obvious!  Remember what I said yesterday - you need to "get" the obvious, as it builds a foundation for the more "obscure" in your life. 

God remembered us when we were down, His love never quits.  Rescued us from the trampling boot, His love never quits.  Takes care of everyone in time of need.  His love never quits.  Thank God, who did it all!  His love never quits!  (Psalm 136:23-26 MSG)

I began to examine the many ways David outlines the love of God which never quits and here are some things I found:

* God's love is the basis of our thankfulness.  Without his love, we'd only have the muddle of our lives to work our way through.  It was his love which extended grace - through the person of Jesus - the most amazing powerful starting point for each of our lives.  The basis of love is grace - God's grace extended to us in the actions of Christ's birth, life, death, and resurrection.  Our response to grace should always be thankfulness - for what we could never do on our own has been done fully for us in the person of Christ.

* God's love manifests itself in many ways - creation declares the miracle power of God.  The care he took to suspend stars in the sky as "guardians in the night" and the laying out of earth's foundation on ocean's floor are only two examples of his powerful love.  It creates what was not there before - from chaos he brings order, from void he brings substance, and from emptiness he brings fullness.  These are God's actions on our behalf.  Nothing speaks more of the love of God than to have a life in chaos being brought into order, sometimes for the very first time in that one's existence.  The idea of God bringing substance from places of void in our lives should captivate your thought for just a moment.  Think on it - chew it over a while.  What place of void exists in your life?  God is at work there bringing substance where void once was the only thing you saw.  He is also filling what was once empty.  Not just with things - but with that which brings true "quality" to our lives.

* God's love is evident in his protection.  Israel celebrated his mighty deliverance from the hands of the Egyptians.  More importantly, they celebrated how the hand of God protected them as the death angel swept over the city, taking the lives of the firstborn in Egypt - leaving their own sweet children safe and secure in his watchful protection.  They continually celebrated victory over victory against armies far beyond their numbers and with weapons far advanced in their arsenals.  God's protection is sometimes what we take the most for granted.  David's constant reminders of God's love displayed in the protection we receive, often without our knowledge of the dangers we face, is spoken not so much for us to rehearse the past, but to celebrate the provision of God on our behalf.  There is something to be said about unrecognized dangers - what we don't see with the visible eye (the obscure) is often what could be our undoing (the obvious).  Did you get that?  The obscure is what God is taking care of - while we focus on the obvious.

* God's love makes a way where no way seems possible.  Israel faced kings and kingdoms far beyond their military might, political prowess, or financial storehouses.  They encountered wilderness journeys which taxed their resources, wearied their bodies, and tested their strength beyond measure.  Not one of these encountered tests were without God's "way-making" oversight.  In fact, he allowed each step - not because each step was the "safest", but because it was the very step which would reveal his ability to make a way where no other way existed.

God's love is grand - worthy of being celebrated.  I wonder if we could write our own psalm here.  If we did, what would it proclaim about God's love?  Maybe we'd do well to consider the many obvious ways God has already revealed his love instead of always looking for the more obscure evidences of his love.  They both exist, but we would do well to rehearse and celebrate the ones we see plainly, allowing him to reveal the more obscure in his timing and perfect ways.  Just sayin!